* FTSE 100 up 0.2 pct in mid-session trading
* BAT rises after Citigroup adds it to "focus" list
* Rolls-Royce boosted by power systems takeover
* Miners fall after weak Chinese data
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, March 10 Gains at British American
Tobacco and Rolls-Royce enabled Britain's top equity index to
steady on Monday after steep falls in the previous session,
although weak Chinese economic data curbed the market's advance.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index, which fell 1.1 percent
on Friday, regained some of its poise to rise by 0.2 percent, or
12.22 points, to 6,724.89 points in mid-session trading.
"I'm still quite bullish in the near-term," said Dafydd
Davies, senior trader at London-based Prime Wealth Group.
A 1.5 percent rise at British American Tobacco (BAT)
and a 2.9 percent gain at engine maker Rolls-Royce
together added the most points to the FTSE 100.
BAT rose after investment bank Citigroup added the firm to
its European "focus list" of preferred stocks. Citigroup wrote
in a note that BAT would be boosted if it carried out a full
takeover of U.S. tobacco group RJ Reynolds - in which BAT
already has a 42 percent stake.
Takeover news also drove Rolls-Royce higher, after the
company said late on Friday that it would buy out German
carmaker Daimler's stake in their power systems joint
"The deal will have low integration risk, and will be
reasonably priced," said Jonathan Jackson, head of equities at
brokerage Killik & Co.
However, the mining sector underperformed for the second
consecutive session, with the FTSE 350 Mining Index
weakening by 1.5 percent.
Major mining stocks were hit by data over the weekend which
showed that exports in China - the world's biggest metals
consumer - had unexpectedly fallen in February.
The decline in the mining sector followed on from falls on
Friday after a landmark corporate bond default in China had also
raised fears about possible economic problems in the country.
Despite this, many analysts stressed that any market swings
in the FTSE should be seen in the context of an equities rally
which has helped the FTSE bounce nearly 5 percent off lows of
"The atmosphere is one of cautious bullishness," said IG
market analyst Chris Beauchamp.